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Georges St-Pierre: ‘The more I watch the fights the more I feel the itch’

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Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Just as it seemed like a colossal fight between former middleweight champ Anderson Silva and erstwhile welterweight champ Georges St-Pierre might finally have some inroads, Silva’s positive drug test threw a monkey wrench into things.

Silva popped positive for two different kinds of steroids -- drostanolone and androstane -- in an out-of-competition test given on Jan. 9 leading up to his comeback fight against Nick Diaz at UFC 183. That effectively put any talk of a GSP-Silva fight to rest.

And even if Silva had been clean, there was of course the other hurdle – would St-Pierre have even accepted the fight and made his own return? The answer is no. Not yet.

The Canadian icon St-Pierre appeared on Monday’s edition of The MMA Hour and said that, though there has been a couple of dangling carrots by the UFC, right now he’s not ready to return.

"[UFC president Dana White] called me to fight in Montreal [on April 25 at UFC 186], and he also texted me to see if I was interest in fighting Anderson Silva right before the thing came up," St-Pierre told Ariel Helwani. "And I said no…and then the whole thing came up and everything and it was bad. That fight with Anderson would have interested me [his manager] Ed Soares said something in the media and they make people talk."

Asked if that meant he was interested, or if at that point he wasn't, St-Pierre said he currently has his hands full with other projects.

"I never said never, but now is not that time for me," he said. "I’m not interested right now. The way that things go, I’m not interested right now. I’m busy with other stuff too."

St-Pierre walked away from active competition in Dec. 2013, surrendering his welterweight belt in the process. At the time he cited mental exhaustion and stress for the reasons, as well as an escalating concern over rampant PED use in the UFC. He has been vocal since that time about not coming back until the sport is cleaned up.

White has been on record saying that he believes that St-Pierre will return at some point in 2015. Whether or not that happens remains to be seen, as the drug busts have been coming fast and furious against higher-profile fighters in recent months. St-Pierre said during the interview that he still believes the worst is yet to come. 

Then again, St-Pierre said that he begins to feel the inkling to compete whenever he watches a big UFC event, especially now that he is healthy again.

"I’m not going to lie, I’m busy with everything and I work on other projects," he said. "But for sure I watch the fights sometimes and I feel the itch. And the more and more I watch the fights the more I feel the itch. I took time out of competition because I was also burned out of all the pressure and the expectations and everything. I needed to find a way out to keep my mental stability so to speak. And, yeah, I’m not going to lie. The more time that goes by the more I feel the itch. And now I’ve had my knee surgery, my knee feels 100 percent now. And I’m even able to perform some movement that I can do now that I was not able to do before, so I’ve even made a progression in that department.

"So, no, I’m not going to lie, every time I see a fight I tune in for a big UFC fight and I feel excited, you know. But I don’t know what’s going to happen to me. I don’t say that I’m making a comeback, but I think right now the sport needs to get cleaned up."

St-Pierre has been vocal about getting an independent third party involved for out-of-competition drug testing, beyond the UFC and sanctioning body -- such as VADA, the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association. He has stipulated that these steps might prompt him to return sooner than later.

"For me, the condition for me to return, if I want to return…I need my fights to be tested by an organization that is independent and competent like VADA, or I believe there is another one," he said. "It needs to be done, otherwise I’m not coming back."

He also said that right now it's not something he feels compelled to do.

"I don’t need it. I’m wealthy, and I’m healthy, which is even more important," he said. "I’m wealthy, I’m healthy and I don’t need to put my life at risk. I don’t need it. I like the competition, I love my sport, but consider the risk. The positive versus the [negative], it’s not worth it for me. If I ever come back and something bad happens, it can destroy my brand, which is bad for me. So there are more cons than pros for me."